December 2009 issue

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EAP in Australia

English for Academic Purposes (EAP) programmes help prepare international students for tertiary study. Focusing on areas such as essay writing and academic vocabulary, they can also provide seamless transition into a degree programme. Nicola Hancox reports on this sector within Australia.

Students wishing to study at college or university require a different range of skills to those offered in general English courses,” observes Yasmin Beddall, Sales and Marketing Coordinator at Embassy CES Australia. Indeed, while general English programmes cater for a broad spectrum of candidates, EAP is much more academically focused, systematically preparing overseas students for the rigours of a foreign degree programme.

The EAP syllabus generally covers the four macro-language skills (reading, writing, speaking and listening) where students learn a range of techniques including how to decipher academic text (reading), how to structure an essay (writing), how to give formal oral presentations (speaking) and how to process information received in a lecture environment (listening).

However, some providers offer additional course incentives like exam preparation. At La Lingua Language School in Sydney, NSW, students can enrol on a 16-week EAP course and sit a practice Ielts exam every two weeks. This is an effective way to gauge how well students are progressing, explains Naomi Cuthbert, Marketing Manager at the school.

Standard course length can vary, however, and those canvassed for this feature offer anything from a condensed two-week course to a more demanding 50-week programme.

The EAP model is also available in varying degrees of difficulty (ranging from intermediate to proficient). At Embassy CES, students can choose from one of four different options and Beddall notes that each course runs for a period of 10 weeks. While EAP 1 focuses on the basics (namely note-taking and summarising skills), EAP 4 – for the more advanced student – focuses on critical reading and writing, not to mention honing analysis, synthesis, evaluation and interpretation skills and developing advanced research skills.

Similarly, students at Global Village Brisbane can opt for EAP 2 (an upper-intermediate version of the programme) while students at Geos Sydney can choose from intermediate (EAP 1), upper intermediate (EAP 2) and advanced (EAP 3) levels of the programme.

Proven English ability is a pre-requisite for any university applicant and while many international students opt to take the Ielts or Toefl examination prior to university enrolment they are, according to Nick Shaw from the University of Tasmania in Launceston, TAS, at a distinct disadvantage. He notes that EAP students are consistently monitored throughout the course, meaning students benefit from a more rounded learning experience. “Students are progressively assessed so they know how they are progressing and any areas of weakness are addressed as they progress through the course. This is in contrast to Ielts where they are preparing for just the one test,” he states.

Marion Bagot at the Tafe English Language Centre in Sydney, NSW, agrees and notes that statistically, EAP graduates are far better equipped for academic study than those with Ielts scores only.

Another added incentive for considering EAP is that some partner institutions accept EAP course completion as a valid means of language proficiency. Peter Walmsley at Global Village Brisbane notes that successful completion of their EAP 2 programme provides an alternative pathway onto a diploma course at an associate tertiary provider. “Students who gain a B grade pass in the EAP 2 course are eligible to use the course as an academic pathway,” he notes. “This means they can gain direct entry into diploma level courses at associate tertiary institutions.”

Meanwhile, Kevin Warham, Marketing Director at the Sydney English Language Centre in Bondi Junction, NSW, asserts that their university partners appreciate the transferable skills learnt on an EAP course: “Our partner institutions value the breadth of the educational experience our EAP students receive.”

Uptake of EAP programmes is almost certainly on the rise, according to providers, and Louise Lutz at the Ozford English Language Centre in Melbourne, VIC, reports that approximately 40 per cent of their student body are currently enrolled on an EAP programme. At the University of New South Wales Institute of Languages (UNSW), this figure is closer to 70 per cent. “Students are generally in their 20s to early 30s and are mostly postgraduate students,” observes UNSW’s Matt Henderson.

Shaw in Tasmania is bullish about growth prospects. “This is the fastest growing area of English study,” he asserts. “We are finding that the number of students coming to study just English is declining and is being replaced by students taking English to prepare for further study.”
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English Australia  
Feltom Malta  
MEI Ireland  
IALC International  

Alphe Conferences  
IALC International  


Alphe Conferences  
College Bound
Student Marketing  

Malta Tourism
      and Training
      Trade Queensland  

Twin Group  
      (Ireland, England,

English Australia  
Embassy CES  
      and Training
      Trade Queensland  

College Platon  
Elmwood School  
ILAC - International
      Language Academy
      of Canada  
Richmond School
      District #38  

IH Xi'an
Mandarin House

ABC Languages  
      (England, Ireland,
      USA, Cyprus,
Bell International  
      (Malta, UK)
IALC International  
Kaplan Aspect  
      (Australia, Canada,
      Ireland, Malta, New
      Zealand,South Africa,
      UK, USA)
LAL Language
      and Leisure  
      (Canada, Cyprus,
      Ireland, England,
      South Africa, Spain,
      Switzerland, USA)
Study Group  
       (Australia, Canada,
      England, France,
      Germany, Ireland,
      Italy,New Zealand,
      South Africa, Spain,
Twin Group (
      Ireland, England,
Queen Ethelburga's
SUL Language
University of Essex -

International House
      Berlin - Prolog  

MEI Ireland  

Kai Japanese
      Language School  

      Language School  
Feltom Malta  
Malta Tourism

Dominion English

Holme Park  

Malaga Si  

EF Language
      Colleges Ltd  
      (Australia, Canada,
      China, Costa Rica,
      Ecuador, England,
      France, Germany,
      Italy, Malta, New
      Zealand, Singapore,
      South Africa, Spain,

Inlingua Language
NYC Language
University of
      Nebraska - Lincoln  
Zoni Language
      (Canada, USA)  

Celtic School  

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